Yobs attack church during Holy Week

Reverend Simon Stokes at Sprowston's church

Reverend Simon Stokes at St Mary and St Margaret Church in Sprowston - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Church officials have expressed their sadness after yobs targeted their place of worship during a 10-day rampage. 

Police are investigating attacks on St Mary and St Margaret's Church in Sprowston which began on Sunday, April 3. 

During the spate vandals broke into the church's kitchen last weekend and smashed up the organ, threw children's toys at the spotlight in the nave, lobbed eggs inside the building and attempted to start a blaze.

The vicar of the church, Revd Canon Simon Stokes said: "My anxiety is that it's a church we leave open because a number of people in the community like to use it.

"It is a quiet space adjacent to the town cemetery but if it continues to get worse then we may need to consider not leaving the church open. That would be a last resort.

"A medieval building is quite vulnerable." 

Vandalism at St Mary and St Margaret Church in Sprowston. Reverend Simon Stokes. Pictures: Brittany

Reverend Simon Stokes at St Mary and St Margaret Church in Sprowston. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The suspects also damaged a door and scrawled offensive language on paperwork.

Revd Stokes added: "I do not know whether it is linked to the school holidays or not but I want to encourage those responsible not to damage a place of worship. 

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"It's disappointing if people need things. We would much rather they spoke to us first for help. If it's others who are bored we would ask them to consider not targeting a place that others value."

Church warden Sue Ellingham said: "There has been lots of damage in various places and we have had the police involved."

St Mary and St Margaret Church in Sprowston

St Mary and St Margaret Church in Sprowston - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Sprowston mayor John Ward said: "This is mindless vandalism and I hope the police will make every effort to investigate and bring the culprits to justice. 

"This type of vandalism is very rare in Sprowston. While there have been isolated instances of fruit and eggs being thrown at properties there has been nothing on this scale.

"There was a time when all churches were open during the week, and I applaud those that do still open, but sadly the majority are now closed due to the fear of anti- social behaviour." 

Clare Lincoln, head of the Sprowston Youth Engagement Project, said: "As the church is one of our main partners we are very keen to help them find out who have been causing the issues." 

Anyone with information should contact PC Graham Gill at Sprowston Police Station on 101 quoting crime reference 36/26790/22, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.